Open thread: South Carolina results; Exit polls: Obama wins 81-17 among blacks? Update: Fox calls it for Obama; Update: Backlash against Billy Jeff? Update: Wow -- 61% of Dem voters are women; Update: Obama wins by 28%

A Hillary loss is a Hillary win, says the smart set, so long as the result can be spun as racially dictated and Obama consequently “ghettoized” (in Kaus’s phrase) as the black candidate. If the predicted outcome happens and the Messiah wins big, expect a blast of counterspin from his team right out of the gate focusing on his or, if need be, even Silky’s share of the white vote at Hillary’s expense. Any data that undermines the racial narrative works to his advantage. I can’t see him losing, but his lead is so big that if Hillary just makes it close it’ll complicate the media narrative tomorrow. For that reason her team’s probably going all out on GOTV even though the state seems a lost cause — and in fact, there are already reports of record turnout. Note this too from the exit polls:

Nearly six in 10 of those voting said former President Clinton’s campaigning in the state was an important factor for them, including a quarter who called it very important.

So Billy Jeff motivated people to go vote. Which way does that cut for Hillary? This way? If so, it’ll be a delicious subplot to an unfortunately racially polarized race — blacks turning out en masse to vent their anger at the first “black” president.

The polls close at 7 p.m.; follow the returns at CNN or at the state party site. Next up after this: Florida, where there are zero delegates at stake (the DNC stripped them after the state broke party rules by moving up its primary) but which Hillary’s suddenly keenly interested in, partly to stop the buzz-bleeding if Obama wins here tonight and partly because she thinks she can get those delegates reinstated after the fact with a show of Clintonian muscle that’s so endeared her to the left these days.

Update: Watch as the master takes a question that’s not about race at all and twists it, with Huckabeean faux innocence, to his advantage.

Another reporter asked what it said about Obama that it “took two people to beat him.” Clinton again passed. “That’s’ just bait, too. Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in ’84 and ’88. And he ran a good campaign. Senator Obama’s run a good campaign here, he’s run a good campaign everywhere.”

The reference to Jackson seemed a way to downplay today’s result in a state where a majority of voters are African American.

Update: Hmmm. Heavy turnout among blacks — and women.

Update: The good news for Obama? Looks like an easy win. The bad news? The narrative is already being set in stone:


The margin was actually even higher among black women, 82-17. Although here’s a bit of post-racial spin for Team Messiah: Silky does indeed appear to have beaten the “white candidate” among whites.


Update: Does the “Silky beat Hillary among whites” line really do much for Obama, though? People are just going to add up their totals, call that “the white vote,” and push the racial narrative anyway. This goes back to yesterday’s post as an example of Edwards potentially killing Obama by staying in the race and drawing off liberals’ votes. If it’s true that Silky’s white supporters in South Carolina would have broken for Obama for ideological reasons then he’s inadvertently helped buttress the racial storyline by staying in.

Update: No surprise — Obama wins, says Fox, with Hillary only slightly ahead of Edwards. Here’s the spin Team Messiah was hoping for: Obama wins almost half of the white vote under 30. And needless to say, a third-place Hillary washout helps douse the flames of the racial plot. The big loser: Clenis.

Update: “Black women turned out in particularly large numbers.”

Update: Think this strategy will be revisited in the coming days? Maybe it’s time for Billy Jeff to drop out of the race.

Update: Awesome.

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton’s campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 47 percent went for Barack Obama while only 38 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards.

Meanwhile, the exit polls also indicate Obama easily beat Clinton among those voters who decided in the last three days — when news reports heavily covered the former president’s heightened criticisms of Obama. Twenty percent of South Carolina Democrats made their decision in the last three days and 57 percent of them chose Obama, while only 18 percent picked Clinton.

Update: Obama crushed her even with a lopsided 61/39 skew towards women. Impressive.

Update: The polls had him ahead by low double digits. With 98% reporting, CNN says he’s up by 28%. Good lord.